2001 Discovery XD-1 Build Part 4

Time for another update.  I have been making slow but steady progress.  As I mentioned last time, I moved on to the pod platforms.  One of them will have to have a hole drilled in the middle to pass the LED wires through to light the pod.  I put a bit in my pin vise and carefully drilled a hole in the round pod base.  I then glued that to one of the pod platforms.  Next I got the pin vice back out and drilled through the platform.  It worked out well.  I used a small file and smoothed the edges so they wouldn’t cut through the thin insulation on the LED wires.

Next up was to start folding the platforms and gluing them together.  They were a bit fiddly because of their size, but they went together quicker than I expected.  Next, I glued the platform tops to the two platforms that would not be extended.  The last part to add to complete the platforms was three tiny brackets under the front lip of the platform.  I lost one in the process of cleaning them up.  Fortunately ParaGrafix included an extra one.  I then glued the short 1.6mm brass rods to them.  Now those two are ready for filling and paint.

The extended platform had to be done in a slightly different order because of the wiring.  First I needed to drill a hole into one of the long 1.6mm brass rods so that the LED wires could go from the platform into the rod and out the back of the pod bay.  I drilled the hole at a very shallow angle to make it easier to thread the wires through.  The wiring path is from the LED through the base of the pod.  Then into the top of the pod platform.  From there the wires have to thread their way into the brass rod at the base of the platform.  I had to take care not to scrape any of the insulation off the wires in the process.  Now with everything threaded together in the proper order, I started pulling the wire through while guiding the platform table into its proper position.  To take some of the pressure off the wires I left a loop of wire in the lower pod base before the wire disappeared into the brass rod.  I was then able to glue the platform table to the base.  Then slowly push the bit of excess wire from the pod base down into the pod platform.  Then I glued the pod base to the platform table.  Finally the extended platform was ready for paint.

Next was to tackle the 2.4mm brass rods that would accept the 1.6mm rods from the platforms.  ParaGrafix suggest cutting an extra set of the 2.4mm brass rods and use them as temporary guides to position the short 2.4mm rods used by the static platforms.  I also cut some styrene rods to use as spacers for the static rods as suggested by ParaGrafix.  You can just make out the spacers under the static brass rods.  I used CA to attach the spacers to the rods and the pod bay floor.  The extended platform did not need spacers since it travels completely from the front of the pod bay to the back wall.  Once all that was done I painted the exposed ends of the large brass rods to blend in with the rest of the lower pod bay wall.

That’s it for now, more to come.  Thanks for looking.

2001 Discovery XD-1 Build Part 3

Time for another update.  I’m continuing with the photoetch for the most part.

I folded the pod bay into shape and CA’d it together.  I would have installed the floor but I was waiting on another set of LED’s to arrive.  The first set were fine but they had a slight green cast to them.  I ordered another set from a different source and I’m hoping that these are more white.

Anyway, in the meantime I moved on to the cockpit photoetch.  I started with the hallway behind the cockpit.  I filled the openings with Micro Kristal Kleer, except the ceiling.  The openings are way too big to fill.  I will apply a piece of clear styrene that I will sand on one side to make it more opaque.  The part itself is a simple rectangular cube when folded.  The main thing to be careful of is the ceiling.  It is mostly open to allow the lights to shine through.  As such it is very easy to bend the wrong way, but with a bit of care it went together just fine.  After bending, I painted the backside of the openings with various Tamiya clear colors to enhance the color of the decals when lit from behind.

Next came the cockpit itself.  I filled all the small lights and openings with Kristal Kleer as before.  Then I applied the decals.  When they were dry, I turned it over and started painting the back with the clear colors to match the colors of the decals.  I also folded and painted the seats that will be installed later.  When the paint was dry I started folding the cockpit section.  There are a number of small pieces to bend but I had little trouble.  ParaGrafix really does make it pretty easy to get a good bend without special tools.  The lights look good, too bad you will be able to see so little of it after it is installed.

When the new LED’s came in I tested them and they were much more white that the others.  I glued one to the pod bay floor to illuminate the workbench.  I also bent and installed the PE cockpit window frame.

I decided I could wait no longer.  I had to cut one of the pod bay doors out.  I was dreading doing this, but it really needed to be done.  In the film you can see that when the pod bay doors are open the notched frame remains in place.  This meant that I had to cut out the doors and leave only the frame to be installed.  I used a brand new #11 blade and slowly and carefully cut around the door inside the frame.  After what seemed like forever the door finally came out.  After sanding the inside edge of the frame, it looks pretty good.

Now it was time to install the suit rack and workbench on the pod bay floor.  I CA’d them into place.  I then CA’d the floor into the pod bay walls.  I turned on the LED and found a little light leak that I’ll paint over with some black.  Otherwise it looks pretty good.  The photo is a little blown out, but with just your eye it looks good.  I placed the bay in the sphere and it looks pretty good.  With the other two doors closed you can’t see much, but it does look great.

I then folded the PE pod bay sub-floor and installed it on the bottom side of the pod bay floor.  I also went back and light blocked the cockpit and then glued it to the window opening and painted it black for light blocking.

I then started working on the pods themselves.  I painted black inside the pod that will be lit.  After that dries I’ll paint silver inside to aid in bouncing the light around so the fiber optic head lights can pick up as much light as possible.  I then primed the pod that will be installed inside the pod bay.  It looks a bit rough on the lower half.  For some reason the bottom half of the 3D printed pod is a bit rougher than the top half.  I’ll have to do some careful sanding to see if the primer can smooth some of that out.  It looks like I’ll have to do the same with the pod that I’m going to light up.

That’s it for now.  As you can see, I’m saving the pod platforms themselves for last.  I have to drill some holes in the PE for one of the pod pads to allow the wires to pass through.  I’m hoping that I don’t destroy the part in the process.

Thanks for looking.

2001 Discovery XD-1 Build Part 2

I got started on the photoetch parts.  I sprayed them with a white primer and then covered that in a clear coat.  I decided to start with updating the exterior airlock door.  As the kit comes, there is no detail on the door itself and the door controls are just a couple of raised areas next to it.  The photoetch has much more detail, but to start, I needed to remove the raised areas and then cut out the kit door.  The ParaGrafix instructions indicate to put the door on the outside of the command sphere, but looking at the movie stills it is clear that the door is recessed, hence my need to cut out the door.  The plastic is fairly soft so cutting out the door was not too difficult.  I tacked the door on with some CA and then used JB Weld to secure it in place and make sure there were no light leaks.  Then is was a simple matter to attach the photoetch door controls with a drop of CA.

Next up came the photoetch for the interior airlock passage.  It was a simple couple of bends and then some CA to secure it and some JB Weld to make it permanent and cover the joints to prevent light leaks.  Then I added the decals from the HDA Modelworx set.  In hindsight I should probably have put the decals on before bending the part, but it was fairly easy to cut the decal into three parts and apply them to the airlock passage.  These decals are printed with a laser printer.  It is the first time I’ve used this type of decal.  I do not know if they are all like this, but these are very thick decals.  Which is probably a good thing since removing them from the paper backing is rather difficult.  I’ve not used decals that were this hard to remove from the decal paper.  Even after a long soak and allowing them to sit for a while, they were still very difficult to get off the paper.  I had to apply quite a bit of sliding force to get them started.  But they did eventually come loose and I applied them to the PE.  I made sure to use a good amount of Micro Set and then followed that up with Micro Sol to get them to conform to the details of the PE.

Next came the test bench that goes in the center of the pod bay.  It was a much more involved bending process with several small bends that needed to be made.  This is the first time that I have used PE that was this involved.  I finally got it bent, but I’m not quite satisfied with the final result.  I couldn’t get the back of the workbench exactly where it needed to be but it is very close and when it is this small I think it will look fine.  Once again the decals were cut into sections and applied individually.  It took several applications of Micro Set to get them down smooth, but they look fine now.  I needed to apply a bit of black paint at the corners and the inside to stop light leaks.  I also needed to add a couple of styrene bits to cover the open end and the bottom overhang where there is no PE.  I then also painted the inside silver to aid in bouncing the light around when it gets lit.

Next I bent the climate control vents into shape and touched up the corners with some white paint.  They went together easily with just some simple bends.  I then applied the decals to the pod bay walls and floor.  The windows and lights were filled with Micro Krystal Klear.  The pod bay wall decals were cut into sections and applied.  The floor was one decal with a couple of holes cut out for the workbench and the space suit rack.  I also CA’ed the blue suit and the red helmet to the suit rack and applied the decals.

The ceiling of the pod bay is where the climate control vents go and I took a photo of them placed where they will go when complete.  I won’t actually install them until later.  There are also some dome shapes that go on the ceiling.  You can see them in the movie, but they are not modeled in the PE.  But there are three raised areas on the PE where the domes should go.  I started wondering what I would do about that.  At first I thought I might just leave them off, but my OCD just wouldn’t let me do that.  Then I remembered the half pearls that I used on a couple of my steam punk rockets.  I pulled them out and they were just the right size to fit.  I CA’ed them into place and painted them white.

That is as far as I have gotten so far.  Next I need to start working on how to light the pod on the extended platform.  My brass rods came in so now I have no excuses left, I have to start working on it.  Current plan is to run some very thin wires through one of the rods and up into the platform then into the pod.  First things first, I need to get the pod painted to block any light from the interior leaking out.

That’s all for now.

2001 Discovery XD-1 Build

I’m getting ready to start my next build.  It will be the Moebius kit of the Discovery XD-1 from the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey.  This is one of my grail kits.  I’ve wanted a kit of this model ever since I saw the movie back in 1968.  There have been no injected styrene kits of this up until Moebius did it a couple of years ago.  There were some garage kits in resin, but they were either out of my price range or I didn’t find out about them until they were out of production.  I pre-ordered the kit from CulTVMan when it was announced.  It’s been in my stash since then.  Now I’m finally getting around to building it.

Of course this model screams for a detailed pod bay which is not included in the kit.  Fortunately ParaGrafix has come to the rescue with a pair of photoetch sets that re-create the pod bay and the cockpit of the XD-1.  I also found out that HDA Modelworks was making a set of decals for the ParaGrafix sets that would help me avoid having to paint all that detail by hand.

Obviously, since there was no pod bay in the kit, there are no pods in the kit either.  After looking at what was available from after-market sources, and actually purchasing a couple, I was not enthusiastic at what I had found.  The first one I picked up was cast in clear resin so it might be possible to light it.  Unfortunately it was way undersized.  I found another that was about the correct size but the detailing in the back seemed wrong, and it was cast in solid white which would make lighting next to impossible.  Finally, I heard about Falconware on Shapeways.  He was producing a 3D printed set of pods that were the right size and nicely detailed.  He had even included the provision to add fiber optics for the headlights of the pod.  I bought a set of three and they look very good.  He also provides a set of arms in various positions so you can model them parked, picking up Frank, or opening the emergency airlock.

So now I have most of the aftermarket add-ons that I need (I still need to get some LED’s for the lighting) I’m ready to start on the model.  I opened the box and examined the runners.  Each runner is in a separate bag so if any parts come off the won’t go far.  Unfortunately, my kit had two parts that were damaged.  The main antenna spider had one of its arms broken.  Also the window sill was cracked.  After sparing application of liquid cement and careful bending of the broken part, I was able to fix the spider.  You can barely tell where it was broken.  I used a similar procedure on the window sill.  Both came out great.

Now I need to figure out my plan of attack for the model.  I think I’ll be starting with the photoetch sets from ParaGrafix.  I’ll be modeling the scene where Dave is leaving the pod bay in his attempt to get Frank.  So I will only need two of the three pods that I bought.  I will also only need to light the one that Dave is using.  I’ll model that pod platform extended with the headlights on and the arms in the parked position.  I have a bit of work to do before I install the platforms which is good since I’m still waiting on the brass tubes that support the platforms.

I expect the initial stages of this build to be a bit slow, but things should start progressing nicely after the interior and lighting is installed.

Thanks for following along.


LDRS 38 Club Project

LDRS is an annual gathering for high power rocketeers from all over the country and a few from foreign countries as well.  This year was LDRS 38 hosted by the Kloudbusters of Wichita Kansas.  They are one of the best clubs in the country for large launches.  They have hosted several LDRS launches and have it down to a fine art.  Which is good because this was the largest LDRS ever.

At the last LDRS held at the Rocket Pasture, LDRS 30, the club built a two stage scale version of the Nike Asp sounding rocket.  It flew well until time to ignite the second stage.  It didn’t ignite!  The recovery system worked properly and we got all the pieces back.  We vowed that the next time LDRS was here we’d try again.

That time came last week at LDRS 38.  Members pitched in and prepared the motors loaded them into the Nike booster and the Asp second stage.  Electronics were prepared and all recovery devices were packed and loaded into their respective stages.

Then we departed for the away pads and to get approval of the Range Safety Officer to fly.  One small problem getting RSO approval, he didn’t like our electronics set up to assure that the second stage would light only if the rocket was still within a few degrees of vertical.  We worked that one out.  Bob Brown the LDRS leader took one of our members back to our camp site to get the laptop so we could reprogram the electronics.  After a few minutes all was well and we headed out to the pad to get the rocket loaded for launch.  Time was ticking down as our FAA waiver only had about 20 minutes left.  We finally got it loaded with just a few minutes left.

The countdown proceeded well and then with a loud roar off she went.  Staging looked beautiful just like last time.  Then the Asp second stage lit and off we go.  Looking good…for a few seconds.  Then the smoke trail changed a bit.  That didn’t look quite right.  But she is still going up.  Wait, the second stage parachute should be out.  Oh, there it is.  That definitely is not right.  There is nothing under the chute.  Plus it should be a lot higher.  We definitely had a problem.  Then we noticed a large section coming down with no chute just trailing some cords to the east.  No sign of the rest of the rocket.  The Nike booster came down just fine.  No problems there.  Now we need to find the as many parts as we can.  The radio trackers came out and then the nose cone was found, but still no sign of the rest of the rocket.

From studying the pictures, we definitely had an anomaly shortly after staging.  Our theory is that as the rocket went transonic or just supersonic we lost a fin.  That caused a deviation from the flight path that increased the angle of attack.  This over stressed the airframe and it broke up.

At least we got the booster back.  I’m sure at some point in the future we will try another club project, but for now we’ll take a break.

Still it was a great LDRS 38, mostly good weather and lots of great flights.

Voskhod Build Complete

The Voskhod build that I started back in January is finally finished.  I got the main engine bells painted.  Then I drilled small holes at the base of the core and boosters to accept the tab that is on the engine bells.  They were then glued into place with thick CA.  The vernier motors were painted and installed on the core and boosters.  For the core, the full length of the Airfix vernier motors fit within the cavities that were on the sides of the core body.  For the boosters, I had to trim all the part away except for the nozzles.  These then fit into the small recesses at the edge of each booster.  They were also glued on with thick CA.

Then I carefully glued the boosters to the core stage.  I again used thick CA.  I added a small drop at four points for each booster.  One at the tip where the top of the booster is attached to the core body and then at two points for the braces.  I also added a drop of CA at the middle of the crossbar where there is a pin that goes into a hole that had been drilled in each booster body.  The Apex kit did not have that pin on the crossbar that came in the kit.  The actual vehicle did not have that attach point either.  The Airfix part that I was using instead did.  I like that idea as it helps hold the boosters on a bit more securely, and at this scale you cannot see where they meet so it does not distract from model.

Next came a fiddly part of the build where I had to attach the second stage to the truss work on the core stage.  Here I put a small amount of JB Weld epoxy at each pin that I had previously added to the second stage.  I then carefully placed the second stage on the truss.  It took a bit of wiggling here and adjusting there to get it into the proper position.  Each of the four pins had to be behind the top of the inverted ‘V’ on the truss so that the JB Weld could have something else to grab onto.  After letting it cure for 24 hours, it is not securely attached.  But I still want to be careful in handling, since the pins holding it together are tiny.

It now sits on its base.  The steel rod fits nicely into the tube that I built into the core stage.  It is very stable on its base.  It now takes its place in my 1/144 scale rocket garden of manned launch vehicles.  I now only need two more to finish the garden, a Russian Soyuz and a Chinese CZ-2F.  That is until Spacex and Boeing start flying crews to the ISS.

Thanks for reading.

Voskhod Update 2

Now that I have finished the Saturn V and the Lego LM I need to get back to the Voskhod 2 model.  When I last posted about this project, I had assembled the stages and put the photo etched brass truss on the first stage.  Since then all parts have had primer applied and also painted in gray.  Then the bases of the stages were painted with chrome silver.  I then glued the 20 engine bells from the Airfix kit to a piece of scrap wood with white glue.  This will hold them in place while painting yet be easily removable after the paint is dry.

Then I noticed that I needed to move a couple of external pipes on the second stage.  From my reference material they were in the wrong position.  After I did that I then drilled some 1/32 inch holes to mount the antennas on the second stage.  I had done a similar thing with the two antennas on the core booster.  To keep the antennas in the proper position until the CA cured I used a scrap piece of .060 strip stock taped to the side of the model.  The antennas were made with .4 mm rod bent to the proper shape.

Next I started thinking about how I was going to attach the second stage to the truss at the top of the core stage.  The second stage/spacecraft section is solid resin and heavier that the entire rest of the model.  If I was doing it again I think I would try to hollow out some of the second stage and spacecraft to lighten it up a bit.  After considerable trial fitting, cussing and thinking, I came up with a solution that I think will work.  I drilled four 1/32 inch holes in the base of the second stage at four points around the stage where a peak of the ‘V’ from the brass interstage touches the stage.  I then used CA to glue in four short stubs of sytrene rod.  This should help me align the second stage on the truss and also provide a bit of extra surface area to glue the two together.  I’ll glue the second stage to the core stage after I attach the strap-on boosters.

It is getting close to final assembly.  Just needs a bit more paint and adding the engine bells to the core and strap-ons.  I also need to get the base finished.  I have it drilled for the steel rod and the rod is cut to length.  I just need to sand and paint the base.

More to come…